Ant-Man – Review

Screenshot 2015-07-17 12.07.26

“Ant-Man Shows That Great Things Come In Small Packages.”

Considering how well put together Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man is, it’s a shock that just a few months ago a lot of people were talking about how it would be Marvel Studios’ first misstep.

And I can understand–prior to having seen the movie– how one could come to such a conclusion. The character was virtually unknown to the general public–then again, so was Iron Man and the Guardians Of The Galaxy–and the production was thrown into doubt when Edgar Wright, who was originally chosen to direct, abandoned the production due to “creative differences.”

The writing was on the wall, so Marvel brought in Payton Reed (Bring It On) to replace Wright. Along the way they also hired Adam McKay and Paul Rudd to build on the original screenplay by Wright and Joe Cornish.

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A Single Man – Review

A Single Man movie poster

“Shiny, happy plastic people in tragic circumstances.”

Tom Ford’s A Single Man isn’t a horror or fantasy film, but it might as well be, as far as depicting relationships between humans goes.  George (Peter Firth) is a British expatriate, teaching at a college in California.  His world is seemingly perfect till the death of his lover, Jim (Matthew Goode) in an auto accident changes everything.

For a movie about a man who’s love is torn from him so suddenly, this is a remarkably chaste movie, which is important to note because there’s barely anything even remotely passionate about their relationship, which is a problem when that’s what underlies everything that happens in the movie.

I can understand why two actors might not want to give a more nuanced portrayal of two people in love, but British films (such as the far superior Weekend, also on Netflix) typically aren’t afraid to depict people being intimate–and I don’t necessarily mean in a sexual context.  George and Jim may occupy the same space at any given time, but they never feel as if they’re together.

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Resolution – Review

Resolution movie poster

Resolution Is The Best Mumblecore Horror Movie Ever Made”

Resolution was the movie that introduced me to Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead (Spring), so to speak.  I’ve re-watched it recently, and have been looking for a way to describe it as briefly as possible.

And I think I have it: Resolution is the best mumblecore horror movie ever made (and I mean that–mostly–as a complement).

Typically ‘mumblecore’ referes to music that has almost ambient qualities, accompanied by vocals that tend to lack clarity.

That’s an apt description as any because the movie doesn’t spoon-feed you anything.  It gives you a few options to explain why events are unfolding, though it doesn’t hew too closely to any particular explanation, leaving the viewer to decide if any–or none–are the least bit accurate.

Clearly something is spoon-feeding Michael Danube (Chris Cilella) clues to events that happened in the past of the house where he and Chris Daniels (Vinny Curran) are squatting, but what’s the movie never tells you is why (My money is on the Wendigo).

Personally I don’t mind the speculative quality of the movie, though it does take a bit of getting used to.

One of the many things the movie deserves kudos for is its atmosphere.  Things feel almost claustrophobic (which probably has lot to do with it taking place in a single room), and the sense that things are moving quickly toward a very bad place is very apparent, though the question is whether it actually arrives, and you haven’t wasted your time waiting for a train that just isn’t coming.

Resolution is currently on Netflix, so be careful during your next intervention because It knows you better than you know you.

Steve Jobs – Official Trailer 1

Michael Fassbender appears to be an excellent Steve Jobs in Steve Jobs.  That being said, the trailer seems to spend a bit of time focusing on some of his more…unsavory behaviors, such has the way he was a dick toward his ex.  It comes off a bit unseemly, though I guess as long as it’s balanced by him not acting like a total ass–or being innovative–it’s all buena.

Besides, if you don’t include instances of his ego running rampant then the movie would play like a Hallmark card, which anyone at all familiar with the mercurial former head of Apple Computer would tell you isn’t quite true.

What I am certain about is that Danny Boyle is a great director, and the fact that he’s helming it should result on a pretty intense journey into the heart of the Apple.

Spring – Review

Spring movie poster

“Be careful who you love, because Spring is coming and it’s a monster.”

Some critics has described Spring as ‘Lovecraftian,’–which is what drew me to it in the first place–and while a very good movie, Lovecraftian it’s not.  For it to be so would imply that it was based on, or somehow similar or related to, the work of H.P. Lovecraft and his Cthulhu Mythos.

And it’s not, not in the least.  Sure there are monsters, some even of the aquatic variety, and lots of water; but if that made a movie Lovecraftian, then Steven Spielberg’s Jaws could be as well (which it most definitely isn’t).

Because for a movie to be called so would mean that it not only involves monsters, but embody some of the underlying ideas of Lovecraft’s Mythos, which typically revolves around sinister forces aligned against humankind, whether on a larger or  smaller scale.

Now what Spring is is an awesomely taut, interesting love story.  It’s also best watched twice because you can see the care with which Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson craft their story.  There’s virtually no wasted frames in the entire movie, with everything you see either helping to contribute to a feeling of dread or sell the underlying premise.

Though it’s not perfect, with its weakest scene being the one where Louise (Nadia Pilker) looks into supernatural means to cure her…condition.  The problem isn’t the scene in and of itself, more so than if a person had lived as long as she had, she’d probably have tried it already (though in the movie’s defense she might have done so because she found herself growing closer to Evan (Lou Taylor Pucci) and wasn’t thinking straight.

It’s no accident that that title of the movie is Spring, because the themes of death and rebirth run through the entire movie, most often in a very clever fashion.

The season of Spring has begun on iTunes, though be careful because while love may be eternal, you’re not.

The Martian – Trailer

It may have just been me, but looking at the trailer for Ridley Scott’s The Martian the first thing that came to mind was another Scott movie, Prometheus, which features a silica storm that looks just like the one featured in this movie.

Though I am assuming that they producers are going less for hard-core science fiction more than an enhanced reality, like in the case of Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, which coupled a realistic premise with a not-quite-realistic action.

I am also wondering how it is that there’s a dust storm on Mars?  There’s no air, nor an atmosphere for it to exist in, so what’s blowing the sand about?  I am not a scientist of any sort, but it reads a bit odd (according to Universetoday, there’s actually air on Mars, though I assume that it’s just it’s too thin to breathe.

It’s fascinating in that its storms are caused primarily by sunlight, which causes the air to move, lifting dust from the Martian surface into the air.

Sense8 – Review

Sense8

I have to admit that based on the first episode of Netflix’s Sense8 that things weren’t going to go to well.  Reason being, while it managed to avoid the problem endemic to the Wachowskis’s Matrix sequels–which because of their tendency to ‘tell, not show’ came off a bit pretentious–it also came off a bit scattershot.

Then again, it should have been expected when you take into account the underlying premise of the series, which revolves around eight individuals from all over the world, linked by a mysterious woman (Daryl Hannah) that are somehow able to share experiences and abilities, that it would feel a bit jumpy, telling so many stories almost at once.

So, it’s initially a bit disorientating to have things start at one point, then at the next you’re in another country, with entirely different people.

Though things work themselves quickly, and once I came to learn who the characters were, everything became a lot more interesting.  In fact, structurally it reminds me quite a bit of NBC’s Heroes, except that its scale is bigger.  For instance, while  while Heroes made use of a lot of green screen and backlots in California, Sense8 was filmed on location all over the world, and it shows.

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